This research synthesises and disseminates the 'T-MEDIA' (Teacher Mediation of Subject Learning with ICT: a Multimedia Approach) project and prior work. It aims to consolidate and develop a distinctive line of empirical enquiry and theorising about the critical role of the secondary teacher in purposefully exploiting interactive whiteboards (large touch-controlled screens projecting a computer image) to support subject learning. These tools have been permeating United Kingdom schools at a rapid rate over the last few years, although debate continues regarding their pedagogical benefits. The Fellowship activities include: Writing a book to describe and evaluate the innovative methodology underlying the sustained practitioner-researcher collaboration and theory building in T-MEDIA Assessing the subsequent impact of collaborative research on participating teachers' professional development and practice through analysis of follow-up interviews A series of pioneering pilot case studies trialling a whole class ('dialogic') interactive teaching approach which uses the whiteboard as a 'shared communication space' Organising an international conference on cutting-edge research into the use of interactive technologies in whole-class settings and bringing together practitioners, researchers and policymakers to exchange, generate and evaluate new ideas.
The research team comprised three academics collaborating with teachers in three pioneering in-depth case studies trialling uses of new interactive whiteboard (IWB) uses supporting subject learning through classroom dialogue (actively building on learners’ contributions). Three (primary, middle and secondary school) teachers of personal education, English and history, and their students aged 10–14, took part. The teachers were all experienced, reflective practitioners with an established dialogic pedagogy. Our collaborative, reflexive ‘intermediate theory’ building process (pioneered by Hennessy & Deaney, 2009a) involved our various perspectives being integrated along with insights from practice. We focused on the construct of dialogue during three 1-day workshops employing a variety of selected stimuli, including: critiquing theoretical perspectives on dialogue, video exemplars and transcripts from prior research studies, teacher-selected extracts from pilot videoing in their own classrooms, plus some technical input. Teachers then designed and taught three consecutive lessons employing a dialogic approach supported by IWB use, which we observed. Teacher and university researcher pairs jointly reviewed the lesson videos plus unstructured teacher diaries, interviews (3/teacher) and other contextualising data, selecting ‘critical episodes.’ Two students participated in a review session. Two further unanticipated (half-day) workshops took place, one developing CPD resources. Cross-case analysis (using HyperResearchTM) including interview and workshop transcripts, follow-up questionnaires and accreditation reports characterised effective pedagogical strategies for supporting dialogue, and teacher perspectives on the reflexive co-enquiry process and outcomes. Teachers’ accreditation reports included self-reflection on processes and findings of personal inquiry within the larger project. We negotiated a research-informed perspective on fostering dialogue, framed in accessible language. ‘Dialogue’ was extended beyond ‘talk’ to include teachers and learners co-constructing and manipulating digital objects, representing knowledge using a rich range of resources. The datasets offered include all teacher interviews, the dialogue tables constructed and lesson materials created.